Buick’s public relations department was asleep at the wheel in 1973. Although the brand’s Gran Sport Stage 1 was among the stoutest of the remaining midsize muscle cars offered that year, it was largely ignored by most of the major contemporary car magazines. Car and Driver, Road & Track, Hot Rod, and others failed to publish road tests of the GS, which offered more cubic inches, horsepower and torque than almost anything else coming out of Motown.
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I find it interesting that it has an actual handbrake in the center. between the seats but still has a brake release lever under the dash to the left of the steering wheel. How does that work?
When I was 16 and just started driving, my mother went out and traded in her Toyota for a brand new 1974 Buick Gran Sport 455. What a monster of a car that was! I'd make every excuse in the world to drive that car and since it kind of frightened my mother with its unpredictable handling, she let me. I drove that car in all sorts of conditions, especially winter driving, which my mother feared the most. The car was unstable at best. The weight ratio was so out of whack that the car would spin out easily. In snow, it got stuck idling. The car was extremely dangerous for a stupid 16 year old but wow. What a looker.
I remember picking up a girl for a date, her name was Lucy, and her father came out to see the car. He was so impressed that he let me keep his daughter out to midnight. She normally was restricted to 9pm. Bad call dad!
We had the car for a couple of years before trading it in on a Firebird. By then, I had graduated high school and was on my own so I never got to drive that one. I learned a lot about driving high performance cars and poor handling cars with the Gran Sport.
I know Pontiac had the GP's, and Chevy the Laguna S3, but I forgot about Buick's GS. Olds had the 442, the closes thing Cadillac had that matched the style of its other brethren from what I can see, for '73, is the Eldorado Coupe'. That was a heavy beast. They all had very angular lines to them back then. MPG and aerodynamics? What's that? Guess that's why I like them so much. They made a statement.
That car was built for an old guy who still wanted to be a teenager! Every once in a while Buick hits a home run. This one was out of the park, over the parking lot through the plate glass window and into the G.M. Boardroom.
I shunned musclecars built after 1972 until I rode in my friend's '73 Chevelle SS. What a nice car. His was originally a 454 4 speed, but someone had dropped in a 350 LT1 from a Camaro.
Buick had a rich racing and performance history, and it is often overlooked. It is unfortunate because in many cases were they not just quick cars, they were also Beautiful. Chevrolet has always stolen the show as in most cases the prices were less expensive new. I also think Chevrolet had a lot of pull in what other manufacturers within the GM umbrella could actually make...
Side note: The Stage 1 was also offered on the Riviera some years, not sure if it was used on other Buick models without looking it up.